Netflix updated its guidelines regarding artistic expression, making it difficult for employees to work with content they disagree with.
This is the first time the streaming titan has changed company guidelines since 2017. It says that Netflix might not be the best place for employees against objectionable content. It appears to result from the sudden layoffs and drop in subscribers, the largest one the streaming company has to date.
The new company culture guideline requires employees to work with content that might challenge their personal views.
In the memo, Netflix said that not everyone would agree or like the shows they provide in their service. However, they added that they prioritize viewers to decide which content they want to watch. This position contrasts to silencing or not allowing certain artists or voices to have an opportunity on the streaming platform.
Historic Subscription Drop After A Decade
The change in the company guidelines follows the historic quarter of the streaming service, which saw colossal subscriber losses and sudden creative layoffs. The slump happened after about a decade of completely dominating the streaming market.
Netflix attributes these issues to password sharing, rising competition, and economic factors brought about by inflation and the Russa-Ukraine invasion. Other critics credited the difficulties due to the streaming service’s politically-biased content. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, one of the critics, said that Netflix content is supposedly “woke” and “unwatchable.”
Last October, many employees were planning to walk out to protest against Dave Chappelle’s standup special “The Closer.” It was controversial because the comedian made some transphobic comments during the comedy special.
Around 65 protesters, including Netflix employees and transgender community supporters, rallied outside company offices in Los Angeles. They expressed their disappointment at how Chappelle and Netflix handled the controversial comments in the show.
However, the company defended the decision to air the show with CEO Ted Sarandos sending emails to employees. While he can empathize with the employees who did not agree with Chappelle, he also mentioned that employees are free to disagree with their decisions openly.
For the last year, Netflix has been discussing cultural and political issues with its employees. Their aim in implementing the new guideline is to allow future employees to make an informed decision if the company is a good fit with their personal values.